Addressing Armed Violence - Challenges and Approaches

17th December 2015
Insurgent Margins

Duncan Green’s (Oxfam) blog reports on the recent Institute of Development Studies (IDS) event ‘Challenges for reducing armed violence: towards effective development responses’.

Green’s main impressions from the conference include the need to move beyond relying on settlements with factions of influential elites to stop fighting, as this rarely lasts, to also including initiatives that build social contracts between citizens and state, as a more effective means to bring lasting peace. He also reflects on the use of language suggesting that the concept of ‘anxiety’, of living in constant fear and insecurity, could be a useful lens for understanding peoples lived realities in unstable regions, where threats of poverty and violence overlap. Lastly he calls for the inclusion of more anthropologists, participation specialists and psychologists in future discussions.

Violence at the margins – Kenya, Mali and Nigeria

Violent insurgency continues to grip the margins of Kenya, Mali and Nigeria. In recent years militant Islamist groups have attacked civilian populations, state security personnel and political-administrative officials, spreading insecurity across large areas and exploiting the mistrust between societies at the margins and central authorities.

The briefing ‘Understanding Insurgent Margins in Kenya, Nigeria and Mali’, produced by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), calls for more attention to be focused on the role of local political, economic and social conditions in the areas where attacks are taking place, and less emphasis on linking different groups to a transnational terrorist movement. Essentially it recommends that understanding the local implications of Islam in these different contexts is vital and that essentially long-term solutions to addressing violence in each country must involve resolving long-standing political grievances, a legacy of past state violence towards minority populations, and intra-regional inequality.

In this short film conflict experts share their thoughts on this briefing, and then provide more specific country analysis on Kenya, Mali and Nigeria.

Photo by: African Union Mission in Somalia